CategoriesCeleb Interview

A Natural: Miss Black USA- Shayna Rudd

Congratulations to Miss Shayna Rudd for being crowned the new Miss Black USA  this August. She is a natural as well. I was able to do an interview with her.


I would like to thank Miss Rudd so much for her participation in this interview.

How long were you relaxed? I was relaxed at the tender age of 5! Mymother struggled to tame my thick and wild hair. So, she decided to get my hair permed. My mother is usually dead on with making choices, but this one was WAYYYYY off ( smile).

Why did you decide to go natural? To be honest, I got tired of hating myself. I got tired of hiding behind the chemicals and the weave. The closer I got to God the more curious I was to see my natural hair growing from my roots, instead of me slapping perm on it to make my hair appear “good” by my communities and Americas standards.

Did you have a long transition or a short transition? My transition was for a year. I spent the majority of the time in braids or kinky twist. It was exciting!

What is your hair care regimen? I wash my hair once a week and give myself deep conditioning and oil treatments every two weeks during the summer. During the winter I rely on my stylist Cleashay “China” Sutton of Studio Elan Beauty Salon to work her magic every two weeks.
-What are your favorite products? I am a huge fan of Alagio Professional Haircare Products. However, I ADORE Pantene PRO-V Relaxedand Natural.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is transitioning to natural? It is a process like everything in life. Be patient and enjoy the journey. Love on yourself like never before, because you are now transforming into the “Real You” outwardly. Make sure you that same process happens inwardly as well.

-When you enter pageants, do you see alot of people with natural hair? No. Although in Miss Black USA there were a few ( Miss Black South Carolina and Miss Black Alabama to my knowledge). It is not popular in pageantry to be wear natural hair as an African American contestant.

-What is the pressure like to have straight, flowing locks when entering into pageants or the media? There is a great deal of pressure. We have been conditioned to think that long. flowing hair (even if it’s not yours) wins you Grammy’s, Television Shows, Pageants and Men! Therefore, when you decide to say, ” I am going to wear an afro or even my permed hair down that isn’t flowing down my back”, you do feel odd. I applaud women who enter pageants and the mainstream with locks, short cropped hair, or their natural curls and bobs! Although short hair is becoming trendy, there is still a rule book out there that says, ” If you are to be in the lime light- Make sure the hair is long in order to be competitive”.

-Did you feel a difference in the pageants when you have straight flowing hair vs your natural hair? more comfortable with one over the other, etc..? The only difference was I felt more comfortable with my
natural hair. My performance and work ethic were no different. I demand excellence out of myself at ALL times.

How did it feel to win the Miss Black America pageant? I felt ready! I felt like it was God’s timing. I had been prepared by God and this is our time and I am not going to let the moment pass me by!

-What would you tell a young African American or Multi-Racial women with natural hair that are interested in getting into pageants? I would say if life is not about hair, then neither are pageants!!!! You are much more than your hair. Your hair is only an extension of you. Never let anything hold you back from the vision you have for your life! If you want to enter a pageant- do it on purpose and make yourself proud by doing it as NO ONE but YOU! The YOU that God has called and destined for greatness.

Congratulations to the new Miss Black USA. Please check out her sites.

Miss Black USA

Shayna Rudd’s Website